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The Diet Wars Wage On

The Diet Wars Wage On

Hey there, low-fat diets—put up your dukes because the low-carb diet is ready to take it to the weight loss ring.

After two years of asking study participants to adhere to one of three types of diets—a low-carb eating plan similar to the Atkins diet, a Mediterranean-style regimen and a low-fat diet—researchers found the low-carb dieters had improved their cholesterol more than the other two. All three diets, however, helped people shed excess weight and improve cholesterol levels.

The Atkins Foundation, created by Robert Atkins, M.D., was contacted before the study began, but researchers maintain the foundation did not play a part in the findings. It did, however, fund a portion of the study.

The low-fat diet contained a maximum of 30% of calories from fat, and limited overall calories and cholesterol. Participants ate meals based on low-fat grains, vegetables and fruits. The Mediterranean dieters stuck to similar calorie, fat and cholesterol totals, but placed more emphasis on poultry, fish, olive oil and nuts. The low-carb diet, as expected, was limited in carbohydrates, but had no restrictions for fat and calories. Dieters were also encouraged to choose vegetarian sources of fat and protein, staying far away from the typical bacon, meat and eggs images that often go hand-in-hand with the Atkins Diet.

Not everyone is thrilled at this study's results. Dean Ornish, M.D., the author of several books about the advantages of a low-fat lifestyle, thinks everyone should take a moment to think a bit about this study. In a Newsweek rebuttal of the study, Ornish says that, in particular, he frowned on the fact that the Atkins dieters were told to follow a plant-based diet, like the one he recommends, when the typical plan is associated with fattier sources of protein.

And so, the diet battles continue on, leaving dieters on their own. But regardless of the weight loss plan you choose, be sure to do your research and talk to a doctor.

We’re curious: What diet plan has proven to help you with weight loss and improving your overall health? [MSNBC]

Posted: 7/17/08